OCTOBER 11, 2018
Now nearly 30 years later, this import shop located in the heart of Kensignton is filled with beautiful items from around the world.
A whole lot of family love, (the business has grown to include their two daughters), and a whole lot of love and respect to the people they make their purchases from is part of the foundation of Mañana Imports and Gifts.
We had a chance to connect and find out how it came to be, what it has grown into, how they take care of our global community and what us Yogi’s might like to know about.
How did Mañana Imports and Gifts come to be?
Calgary couple Susanne Lauridsen and Stephen Burger started Mañana in 1989 after meeting and discovering their shared passion for travel and the exploration of new cultures. Susanne had returned from a trip through Central and South America while Steve was studying Anthropology at university when the two met. They later embarked on several trips together and on a trip to Peru they purchased a bulk of wool sweaters, tapestries, and crafts which they sold to family and friends upon their return.
One day, on a stroll though Inglewood, Steve and Susanne spotted a tiny retail space for rent, and they decided to try opening a shop of their own. Susanne held crafting classes out of the retail space and they began selling their ever-growing collection of imports and gifts. As Mañana grew, they relocated to larger spaces in Inglewood, before eventually moving to the beloved Kensington location.
You have some of the most beautiful items in the store from around the world. Can you share with us where your travels take you to purchase some of the items?
In the beginning, Mañana focused on goods from South and Central America, but as Steve and Susanne’s travel interests expanded so did the range of goods. Mañana now carries products from pretty much every continent, with a wide variety of products from Thailand and Nepal.
Steve & Susanne (and sometimes their daughters Erin and Lona), travel to many places around the world in order to stock the shelves of Mañana. They try to buy things as directly as possible and straight from the producers if possible. They have traveled to Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Morocco, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and many other places and have friends and suppliers all over the world. Stephen has an interest in Buddhism and spirituality and visits teachers and temples on his travels.
Incredible adventures! Fair trade and ethical buying is an important part of your purchases. Can you share a little more about the impact of buying with these values in place.
Mañana works directly with producers and fair trade and development projects. Many of the suppliers have become friends of the family, some for more than 20 years. in Buddhism there is a concept of Right Livelihood, the idea that your work should be ethical and be part of your path. At Mañana we believe that trading fairly is part of that.
20 years or more of solid connections is brilliant. Can you share with us some of your favorite suppliers?
The Burger family has two friends in Guatemala that they have bought from for many, many years. One is a mask and wood carver whose kids played with theirs while Steve & Susanne picked items for the store. They have seen those children grow up and have kids of their own. Another is a Mayan silversmith who makes fine silver and Jade jewelry in his rooftop workshop looking over the valley and volcanos. On their next trip to Guatemala, the Burger’s are invited to stay in his family home for a few days.
How often do you find yourself on a buying trip? Do you have a favorite destination?
Steve travels somewhere every few months, and visits Thailand & Nepal typically twice a year. Nepal is his favorite place to visit because of the people, and the beautiful handicrafts. On their most recent trip, Steve & Susanne visited Morocco and Spain.
Are there any items that you have that our yoga community might appreciate?
Yoga is about more than poses and yoga bags (although we carry those too). Yoga is about practice, space, and environment (we carry meditation cushions, tapestries and incense) and spirituality, (we carry statues and prints of Gods, Goddesses, Buddha’s and Bodisattvas, as well as Singing Bowls, Bells, Ting Shas and more).
For Santosha members: Flash Mañana Imports and Gifts your MBO receipt to receive 10% off your purchase.
Free Yoga: Bring in your receipt from Mañana Imports and Gifts and receive one free class at Yoga Santosha in Mission or Kensington/Bodhi Tree from October 1st-31st.
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